Smush Parker is something of an NYC basketball legend for making the NBA despite playing just three years of organized ball prior. Around NBA circles, however, he is widely known for a public feud with Kobe Bryant years after they’d stopped being teammates.
Kobe Bryant and Smush Parker played for two seasons together from 2005-07.
“Playing with the Lakers was an overrated experience,” Parker said to Bleacher Report in 2018. “Phil Jackson was great. I don’t care what the media says. They said I had a problem with Phil Jackson, but the problem was never with Phil Jackson. It was with your boy, 24. Formerly known as KB, Kobe Bryant.”
Now Smush Parker regrets not squashing his beef with Bryant, who was killed Sunday in a helicopter crash at age 41.
“I was hoping for an opportunity to really sit down or our paths to cross so we could physically and verbally have a dialogue,” Parker, who was Bryant’s running mate in the Lakers’ backcourt from 2005 to 2007, told TMZ. “There was a lot of underhanded shots that were fired from both directions. It’s unfortunate that I’m not gonna be able to get that opportunity now.”
Parker once said that playing with Bryant and the Lakers was an “overrated” experience, “because everybody thinks that playing with Kobe Bryant is the best thing since sliced bread, when it’s not.”
In 2012, Bryant ripped Parker for being “the worst. He shouldn’t have been in the NBA but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard. So we let him walk on.”
“I almost won an MVP with Smush Parker and Kwame Brown on my team,” Bryant added. “I was shooting 45 times a game. What was I supposed to do? Pass it to Chris Mihm or Kwame Brown.”
“If I could verbally speak to him, I would verbally apologize to him,” Parker said. “To be able to look a man in his eyes and take into account his own faults for an issue, is the greatest thing a man could do for another man, to look a man in his face and say, ‘You know what? I was wrong and I’m sorry.’”